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FOX Audience Strategy + Essence: Celebration of Black Women In Media & Entertainment

I was invited by Fox Studios (home of American Idol), and more specifically, Fox Audience Strategy headed by my dear friend and colleague Nicole Bernard (Executive Vice President) to attend an IMAGES event with Fox and Essence Magazine.

The event was led by the amazing and knowledgeable Vanessa Bush, Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine. The panel featured Fox Executives Zola Mashariki and Shana C. Waterman and was filled out by Fox Talent: Suzanne de Passe, Nicole Beharie, and Gabourey Sidibe, to focus and celebrate the image of black women in media and entertainment.

Vanessa Bush showcased a dynamic presentation of Essence Magazine’s acclaimed study “The Image of Black Women in Media and Entertainment,” which was followed by an intimated conversation with the panel, and then a Q&A session with the audience. It was incredibly empowering to be in a room full of distinguished entertainment icons and intelligent women and men.

Nicole Bernard, EVP FOX Audience Strategy_DSC6531

Vanessa Bush, Essence Editor in Chief

Study: The Image of Black Women in Media & Entertainment


FOX Talent

Suzanne de Passe: Co-Chairman of de Passe Jones Entertainment Group
While she was at Motown, she discovered and signed Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, Lionel Richie & The Commodores, Rick James, de Barge, and a number of multi-million selling artists. Recipient of an Academy Award nomination for co-writing the screenplay Lady Sings the Blues, de Passe won two Emmy Awards and NAACP Image Awards as Executive Producer of Motown 25. She is an Executive producer, Chairman, Television producer and Entrepreneur._DSC6568

Nicole Beharie
A graduate from The Julliard School’s Drama Division, Nicole is the lead and star of Fox Network’s Sleepy Hollow as Lieutenant Abbie Mills. Her breakout role came last year as she starred in the Jackie Robinson biography, 42 opposite Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford, and also co-starred with Michael Fassbender in the Golden Globe Award-nominated film Shame. Beharie’s critically acclaimed film debut was as the star of American Violet, alongside Alfre Woodard and Tim Blake Nelson. Additional film credits include The Express, My Last Day Without You, Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day, Apartment 4E, and The Last Fall. By the way, did you know that she is a singer/song write too? Yeah, and if that wasn’t impressive enough, she is incredibly sweet.

Gabourey Sidibe
For her role as Precious, Sidibe received an Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nomination for Best Actress. Sidibe was awarded both The Film Independent “Independent Spirit Award” and the NAACP Image Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. She also garnered Best Actress nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, Broadcast Film Critics, and British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The National Board of Review awarded her with the Breakthrough Performance Award and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival honored Sidibe with the Vanguard Award for “taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film.” Gabourey a series regular on Fox 21st Century’s American Horror Story._DSC6590

FOX Executives

Zola B. Mashariki: Senior Vice President of Production at Fox Searchlight Pictures
She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School and a former corporate attorney at Proskauer Rose LLP in New York and Manatt, Phelps and Phillips LLP in Los Angeles.  Ms. Mashariki has worked on a number of feature films, including The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (nominated for 2 Golden Globe® awards), Martha Marcy May Marlene, Another Earth, Our Family Wedding, Notorious, The Secret Life of Bees, The Savages, The Namesake, The Clearing, In America, Antwone Fisher, Baggage Claim & Black Nativity (to name a few). Most recently, Zola has been working on the sequel to John Madden’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Mira Nair’s Bengali Detective & Thomas Vinterberg’s Far From The Madding Crowd._DSC6574

Shana C. Waterman: Senior Vice President, Event Series Development & Production
Shana serves as the SVP in this newly-created department at Fox Broadcasting Company charged with producing the network’s limited-run, Event Series. She’s commissioned and develops long-form series including the upcoming 24: Live Another Day and sci-fi thriller, Wayward Pines. Before taking on her new role, Waterman was Senior Vice President of Current Programming where she oversaw several prime-time, scripted television series including House, Glee, Fringe, Raising Hope, The Mindy Project, American Dad, and Family Guy. She currently serves on the Board of the New York Foundation for the Arts and is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.

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  1. Liah Kamupita February 26, 2014 Reply

    Girleigh NyamayaroSuga Kane

  2. eboni73 February 26, 2014 Reply

    sami_Jaax she’s just precious. I have 2 baby sisters already but I really could make her #3. The smart and pretty one.

  3. Janet T St-Hilaire February 26, 2014 Reply

    Cast the light on the positive and stop watching the negative tv junk. If your mind is being fed junk food in return you are what you eat. Black people need to focus and know that we have greatness in us. We are capable of greater and better; let us begin to convey that message.

  4. Barbara Bailey February 27, 2014 Reply

    We can start by writing in to the black networks and say we want to see positive things.It just take one to start the pen is powerful.Also if we don’t watch they will get the message because that’s money.

  5. Jennifer Ndidi February 28, 2014 Reply

    @ Regina – I will do just that! This page appeared in my news feed. I thought her page was similar to african print in fashion. I thought she was a fashionista posting pics of black models in high end fashion.

  6. Teilor Heidi Lybrand March 3, 2014 Reply

    I believe this doesn’t just happen to black women.all women suffer things that can not be explained but only by the humanity by itself.

  7. Yalakesen Baaheth March 4, 2014 Reply

    I love Nicole Beharie!

  8. Latosha Thomas March 6, 2014 Reply

    I thought I saw April Harris for a min…but I know haven’t gained that much since I saw u.

  9. April Harris March 6, 2014 Reply

    BOL!!!! Almost!!’ Lol man if I EVER DO y’all better make sure I NEVER come outside!!

  10. Hermine Yollo March 6, 2014 Reply

    That great Suzanne de Passe

  11. Latosha Thomas March 7, 2014 Reply

    LOL…she talking bout almost…lol. U and the lady in second column 2nd pic resemble….I know u think so..lol

  12. Tatiana Brunelli March 10, 2014 Reply

    gostei da idéia da FOX sim pois na televisão vemos mais pessoas do modo padrão da tv branco, trasso fino, cabelo liso . E na realidade somos uma mistura de rasa . Poderia ter pessoa branca de cabelo bleck .

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